Best Shoes For Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome: Our Editor’s Picks & FAQs

You may have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, A pinching of the median nerve, making the hand too tired to use. The foot equivalent is tarsal tunnel syndrome. Fortunately, there are some shoes out there that can help someone with this problem.

best shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome

What Shoes Are Best For Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

A good tarsal tunnel shoe will be a shoe with motion control and extra depth. Motion-control shoes feature a sturdy and firm heel counter. This would be the back part of the shoe that wraps around the heel.

It will keep the heel from wobbling. Shoes with extra depth allow for improved control of the foot motion. This is due to the fact that the deeper the shoe, the more material there is to resist the motion.

Our Picks:

Here is a list of the five shoes that we believe will be helpful for your tarsal tunnel condition. Comparison shop to find out which one is best for you.

1. HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 Running Shoe

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 6 Running Shoe

In another article, we discussed how the Hoka One One is well cushioned and lightweight, making it ideal for a number of foot problems. The Clifton 6 is no different. The Clifton 6 has a smoother ride with a super comfortable fit. It also comes with an embroidered design that increases lockdown without excess weight.

Features and Benefits:

  • The embroidery reinforcement lessens the number of layers and provides both support and midfoot lockdown.
  • The reinforced eyelets offer extra durability.
  • The early-stage Meta-Rocker delivers a smooth ride
  • The full compression EVA midsole offers the singular HOKA ONE ONE® cushioning.
  • A moderate heel bevel provides a smooth transition which eases the walking gait.
  • The flat-waisted geometry gives the whole shoe inherent stability that keeps the foot in place.
  • The strategically placed high-abrasion rubber zones reduce the overall weight, making for a lightweight shoe that reduces foot fatigue.

What We Like:

  • The shoes are lightweight.
  • They are very breathable.
  • There is plenty of cushioning.
  • They are very durable.

What We Don’t:

  • There is a bit of a break-in period.
  • It is a bit on the narrow side.

2. Skechers Ultra Flex Salutations Sneaker

Skechers Sport Ultra Flex Salutations Sneaker

Here is an exceedingly comfortable sneaker from Skechers. It’s super flexible and comfortable. The textile upper makes this shoe not only comfortably breathable but machine washable. Some people love the look of the silver threading, some hate it. This is one detail that is strictly a matter of opinion.

Features and Benefits:

  • The synthetic sole is grippy, making it easy to walk on without slipping.
  • The sole is flexible, allowing for a natural gait and comfortable fit.
  • The collar stretches, making the shoe easy to put on.
  • The patented Ultra Flex midsole features superb impact cushioning protection plus outstanding energy return.
  • The textile upper makes the shoe breathable and machine washable.

What We Like:

  • The shoes are very comfortable.
  • They are very breathable.
  • The shoes are durable.

What We Don’t:

  • There is a bit of a break-in period.
  • Some people don’t care for the look of the silver threading.

3. OOFOS Unisex OOCloog Post Exercise Active Recovery Footwear

OOFOS Women's OOcloog Clog, Black/Matte Finish, 14 Womens US / 12 Mens US

The classic clog has gotten a serious upgrade from OOFOS. This is a recovery shoe that uses OOfoam recovery technology for unsurpassed shock absorption. It also supports the arches and lets the feet move in a natural manner. You can wear these to work, walk, or even communal showering. This is a clog that is very gentle on a person’s feet.

Features and Benefits:

  • The rubber sole is flexible and grippy.
  • The singular foam Recovery Technology absorbs 37% more of the impact than most general footwear foam which gives your feet comfort.
  • The patented footbed cradles the arches to lower stress on aching feet, ankles, knees, and the lower back.
  • The shoe was engineered to provide natural motion and relief for tired or sore feet.
  • OOFOS are machine washable for ease and convenience.

What We Like:

  • The shoes are soft and comfortable.
  • They are machine washable and water-resistant.
  • The shoes are very durable.
  • They take the stress off the feet.

What We Don’t:

  • Some people don’t like the look.

4. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 Running Shoe

Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 19, Navy/Aqua, 6 B

Brooks is a running shoe brand that has developed numerous important technologies that one can find in numerous modern running shoes. When everything is taken into consideration, Brooks constructs masterful running shoes that are supremely cushioned and are just the thing for trail running. Thy can make delightfully surprising improvements to one’s entire effectiveness, endurance, and gait.

Features and Benefits:

  • The innovative Guiderail Support System supports not only the feet but the knees by keeping superfluous movement in check.
  • These soft and protective shoes deliver the ideal amount of cushion in every step so that you can go about your business without pain or fatigue.
  • The patented BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning systems work in harmony to offer a perfectly soft underfoot without sacrificing lightness, responsiveness, or durability.
  • The specially designed mesh and the 3D Fit Print upper give the shoe a structure and resolute fit of this Go-To Shoe with a very streamlined look.

What We Like:

  • The shoes are durable.
  • They are supportive.
  • There is plenty of cushioning.
  • The upper is breathable.

What We Don’t:

  • Small bits of debris get stuck in the grooves.

5. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Running Shoe

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35

Nike just did it again! The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 women’s running shoe has been engineered to soar to the top in both appearance and performance. The full-length Zoom air unit plus the bevelled heel work in harmony to acquire ideal responsiveness. Meanwhile, the specially designed mesh and flywire cables guarantee optimal stability in acceleration.

Features and Benefits:

  • The mesh upper and partial bootie are designed to provide a supportive feel.
  • The full-length Zoom Air unit offers a smooth and responsive ride.
  • The heel collar is designed to rake away from the foot and thus provide comfort to the Achilles.
  • A highly resilient sockliner molds itself to the foot in order to deliver both comfort and underfoot support.
  • A beveled heel makes the best out of both the initial touchdown and transition.
  • The little cut-outs in the rubber outsole reveal the cushioned midsole in order to improve outsole flexibility.

What We Like:

  • The shoes are lightweight.
  • They look good.
  • They have a quick yet cushioned feel.
  • The wide toe box makes this shoe fit a variety of foot shapes.

What We Don’t:

  • They are not breathable.
  • The mid-sole starts showing some compression after around sixty miles.

What Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that is the result of constant pressure that leads to damage to the posterior tibial nerve. The tibial nerve runs all through the tarsal tunnel. This is a narrow passage on the interior of your ankle and is bound by bone and soft tissue. The symptoms are similar to carpal tunnel only in the feet and ankles. The pain can be described as:

  • Sharp, shooting pain
  • An electric shock
  • A burning sensation
  • Pins and needles

What Causes Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the result of anything that leads to compression on the posterior tibial nerve. This includes such things as:

  • Having flat feet. Flat feet pose a risk for developing tarsal tunnel syndrome due to the outward tilting of the heel that happens with fallen arches. It produces strain and compression on the nerve.
  • An oversized or abnormally formed structure that takes up space within the tunnel that can compress the nerve. This would include such conditions as varicose veins, ganglion cyst, swollen tendon, or arthritic bone spur.
  • An injury like an ankle sprain. This can lead to inflammation and swelling in or around the tunnel. It can also result in compression of the nerve.
  • Systemic diseases, such as arthritis or diabetes, can lead to swelling and compressing the nerve.

How Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose tarsal tunnel syndrome, the doctor must manipulate the affected foot during the physical examination. For instance, the doctor may tap the injured or compressed area just below the ankle bone. This can often cause tingling (commonly known as the Tinel sign) which can extend towards the heel, arch, or toes.

Where Does Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Hurt?

The pain is commonly felt in the foot, ankle, and occasionally toes. It is caused by compression of or damage to the nerve located in the heel and sole. This is what’s known as the posterior tibial nerve.

How Serious Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Should tarsal tunnel syndrome be left untreated, it can lead to permanent and irreversible nerve damage. As this nerve damage severely affects your foot, it may become painful or very difficult to walk or continue ordinary activities. It’s a “stitch in time” situation. It seems like nothing when it starts out but if ignored it can become a very big problem.

Can Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Be Cured?

There is a wide variety of treatment options for people with tarsal tunnel syndrome. It’s important to get treatment soon so that it doesn’t get worse. There’s always the classic RICE treatment.

There are also anti-inflammatory medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, that can reduce inflammation and alleviate compression of the nerve. A doctor may prescribe steroid injections. Braces and splits may be utilized to immobilize the foot and put limits on movement. In extreme cases, a doctor may recommend surgery.

Do Orthotics Help Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

An orthosis that has been prescribed for the treatment of tarsal tunnel syndrome can reduce heel eversion. It is also useful for the prevention of medial arch collapse while encouraging mild ankle plantarflexion. Many orthotics are engineered to lessen tibial nerve traction.

Does Physical Therapy Help Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Your physical therapist can work with you to come up with a feasible treatment plan that will aid in addressing your specific needs and goals. Nerve gliding activities can aid in the reduction of symptoms and even improve function.

You may do exercises to strengthen your muscles, particularly the tibialis posterior muscle. You may do therapy to improve your coordination and balance. Stress on the posterior tibial nerve can be decreased by applying ankle taping, a custom orthotic, or bracing.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Exercises

Here is a common exercise used to treat tarsal tunnel syndrome:

  • Sit down with the legs extended. Slowly and gently flex the foot at the ankle down towards the ground. You may then flex up towards the body, as much as you possibly can without feeling pain. Repeat a number of times.
  • Roll the ankles slowly and gently through a circular range of motion as quickly as it is comfortable several times.
  • Slowly turn the ankles inward and outward. The motion should resemble a windshield wiper. Do this many times, as far as it is comfortable.
  • Repeat these three exercises several times each day.

How Long Does Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Last?

As said before, this is a “stitch in time” medical condition. RICE and OTC medications may clear up a minor case in just two days. If your pain is not gone in that time, you should probably see a doctor.

Conclusion

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is something that can be treated easily if caught early enough. Instead of trying to “walk it off” assess your pain and treat it. If you use your feet a lot, you may want to wear lightweight shoes that reduce foot fatigue. Take care of your feet and they’ll take care of you!

References:

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFkZrn7MqPs
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4wPSqPm0Uo
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHhhwZX7RMI
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320754
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/tarsal-tunnel-syndrome
  • https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/tarsal-tunnel-syndrome
  • https://www.orthofeet.com/blogs/news/tarsal-tunnel-syndrome-finding-the-right-shoes
  • https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/foot-problems/tarsal-tunnel-syndrome
  • https://www.choosept.com/symptomsconditionsdetail/physical-therapy-guide-to-tarsal-tunnel-syndrome
  • https://www.prolaborthotics.com/Products/PathologySpecificOrthoses/TarsalTunnelSyndrome/tabid/97/Default.aspx
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